Trump trial off to a rocky start as dozens of potential jurors say they can't be impartial

ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports on Donald Trump's first day in court

The historic hush-money trial of Donald Trump got off to a rocky start on Monday as dozens of potential jurors told the judge they could not remain impartial.

The first day was centred on setting out the parameters of the trial and was supposed to conclude jury selection, but by the end of the day, not a single juror had taken their seat.

It is the first of Trump's four indictments to reach trial and makes him the first former US head of state to stand trial for a serious crime.

Actually selecting the 12 jurors and six back ups could be a herculean task, with only a third of the 96 candidates still eligible by the end of Monday's session.

More than half of the group was excused after telling the judge they could not be fair and impartial.

At least nine more prospective jurors were excused after raising their hands when the judge asked if they could not serve for any other reason.

Trump attacked the trial as he arrived at court on Monday and committed to campaigning after each day, combining his legal proceedings and his race for the White House into one campaign.

"This is an assault on America, nothing like this has ever happened before, there’s never been anything like it. Every legal scholar said this case is nonsense, it should have never been brought, it doesn’t deserve anything like this," Trump told reporters as he walked into court.

"This is political persecution, this is a persecution like never before, nobody has ever seen anything like it and again it’s a case that should have never been brought," he said.

The outcome of this trial could have huge impacts on the presidential election in November

"That’s why I am very proud to be here, this is an assault on our country and it’s a country that’s failing ... This is really an attack on a political opponent, that is all it is, so I’m very honoured to be here, thank you very much.”

This trial is to see whether Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified business records to conceal crimes in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors say he was trying to conceal an alleged effort to keep salacious stories about his sex life from emerging during his 2016 campaign.

On Monday, the prosecution also asked the judge to fine Trump for three social media posts they say broke the judge's gag order that bans him from making public comments about some of the people related to the case.

As Trump is the presumptive nominee for the Republican party, he is expected to split his time between days in court and, as he has said, "campaigning during the night" ahead of the US presidential election set to take place in November.

Donald Trump arrives at a Manhattan criminal court in New York on Monday. Credit: AP

Many of the details of this case have been public since 2018, when federal prosecutors charged Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen with campaign finance crimes in connection with a scheme to bury claims by porn star Stormy Daniels, as well as other potentially damaging stories from Trump’s past.

There are allegations that Mr Cohen paid Ms Daniels $130,000 (£104,000) to not disclose her claims of an affair and a sexual encounter with Trump.

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